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2.) The DEA wastes hundreds of millions eradicating hemp plants that can't be smoked, then omits the costs from its annual reports.
Since its inception, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program has spent roughly $200 million eradicating "ditchweed," or feral marijuana plants that contain no THC (the chemical in marijuana that gets you high). Even though feral marijuana can't give you a buzz, for years the DEA used it to hype the specter of domestic pot production and pad out its annual DCE/SP report. How much padding, exactly? Roughly 98 percent of the marijuana the DEA destroys in a given year is worthless as a drug (though not as industrial hemp, outlawed since the 1930s).
For years, marijuana reformers hammered the DEA for wasting money and exaggerating the amount of pot grown domestically (lay people—and journalists—seldom distinguish between ditchweed and the stuff that gets you high). Then the squares caught on. In 1998, the state auditor in Vermont released a report criticizing the DEA's focus on ditchweed. "It is noteworthy that the federal program specifically funds, and indeed, encourages the eradication of ditchweed," the auditor noted.
In 2006, NORML's Allen St. Pierre condemned the DEA's targeting of ditchweed, which could create jobs if industrial hemp were legal. "The irony, of course, is that industrial hemp is grown legally throughout most of the Western world as a commercial crop for its fiber content. Yet the U.S. government is spending taxpayers' money to target and eradicate this same agricultural commodity."
After getting beat about the head for years, the DEA suddenly stopped reporting ditchweed eradication after 2006. Since then, the total number of reported marijuana plants destroyed by the DEA each year has dropped from a quarter of a billion—again, 99 percent of that ditchweed—to around 10 million.
"The federal government seems to have misinterpreted criticism that the practice was a waste of resources," observed University of Illinois College of Law's Matthew Donigian in a 2011 report. "Critics were not upset with the government's reporting of 'ditchweed,' but rather the practice of seeking out and burning non-smokeable and non-cultivated cannabis plants."
"The current practice of non-reporting provides the American people with little information on where DEA resources are being utilized," Donigian concludes, "and effectively hides the amount of money spent on an unintelligible practice."
The next accounting trick: exagerrating the amount the government spends on prevention and rehab versus law enforcement.